It’s hard to believe over a decade has passed since Breaking Bad ended. Yet every year that passes makes the beloved AMC drama even more impressive.
While we’ve seen many popular TV shows since (from Fleabag to Yellowstone and Succession), Breaking Bad still stands as one of the elite shows of our era.
Whatever it is that you loved most about Breaking Bad, from the guilty pleasure of rooting for the anti-hero (shoutout Taylor Swift), to the adrenaline rush after watching a drug, shootout or escape scene, we can all agree on one thing: this show gave us some of the most gripping, dramatic, and thrilling moments in modern television history.
So, to remember it all, we take a look back at 25 of the best Breaking Bad scenes and moments we’ll never forget.
1. Cooking In The Desert
Season 1, Pilot
The Breaking Bad pilot doesn’t waste much time. It’s quickly revealed that Walt has terminal cancer, and he soon concocts a plan to cook and sell meth to provide for his family. Having learned that his student Jesse is involved in meth production, Walt enlists him for a cooking spree.
But it’s the cooking montage in an RV in the desert that sticks with us. It’s a strange scene to watch: a dying teacher, in underwear and an apron, cooking meth with his student. But compared to what ensues over the next five seasons, this clip seems almost innocent.
2. The Bathtub Incident
Season 1, Cat’s in the Bag…
This is one of the most famous scenes in Breaking Bad, and that’s saying something. After Walt trapped Jesse’s dealers in an RV with poisonous fumes, the second episode sees the teacher/student duo dispose of the bodies.
Krazy-8 is clinging to life; and Walt directs Jesse to dissolve Emilio’s body with hydrofluoric acid in a container. But Jesse uses a bathtub instead – which dissolves with the body and the floor, resulting in a cascade of Emilio goo. The intense scene delivers a hybrid of disgust, horror, and a touch of comedy in a way only Breaking Bad can.
3. The Coin-Flip Killing
Season 1, …And the Bag’s in the River
Krazy-8 is clinging to life, and the ever-more-criminal duo of Walt and Jesse just can’t leave things that way. Nobody is okay with the idea of murdering their captive drug dealer, so this leads to a coin flip, which determines that Walt must do the deed.
It’s a brief scene, but definitely a memorable one. I mean, it’s pretty unsettling seeing a coin flip for murder! And then of course it’s followed up by Walt strangling Krazy-8 (though he almost doesn’t go through with it).
4. Walt’s Crystal Bombing
Season 1, Crazy Handful of Nothin’
It’s near the end of season one where Walt finally starts transforming into Heisenberg – and what a beautiful thing it is to see…He shaves his head, adopts the alias, and confronts psychotic drug dealer Tuco, who has stolen meth from Jesse.
At first, Walt seems in over his head as Tuco laughs at his demands, but he then picks up what appears to be a meth crystal (but is in fact an explosive), hurls it against the floor, and blows up the room. It’s a wild scene to watch. But it’s at this moment when Walt truly becomes Heisenberg.
5. Hank Kills Tuco
Season 2, Grilled
As much drama and violence as there is throughout Breaking Bad, there aren’t too many actual action scenes. Except this one. Early in season two, the bonkers Tuco has abducted Walt and Jesse with plans to turn them into his private meth chefs in Mexico.
At the same time, Hank is tracking down Walt. Hank ultimately comes across Tuco, who is armed but wounded from a scuffle with Walt and Jesse.
What ensues is a straight-up gunfight, at the end of which Hank kills Tuco. The suspenseful scene eliminates the show’s first true villain, ramps up the action, and brings Hank further into the fold.
6. Saul’s First Appearance
Season 2, Better Call Saul
Saul Goodman has gone on to bigger and better things since his debut in Breaking Bad. But the sketchy lawyer’s first appearance is still a memorable one.
The lawyer breezes onto the scene with the bizarre wit and easy moral flexibility that would define his character for years. It’s hard to believe this guy would eventually become one of the main characters of the Breaking Bad universe!
There’s comedy before Saul, but the lawyer, aloof and bemused, brings in a new perspective that much of this show is absurd beneath the surface.
7. Walt Watches Jane Die
Season 2, Phoenix
There are many haunting moments in Breaking Bad, but few are as shocking or terrible as this. Worried that Jane is leading him toward an overdose, Walt decides to make a final appeal to Jesse. When he makes his visit, Walt finds Jesse and Jane unconscious from heroin use.
As Walt tries to wake Jesse, Jane starts choking on her own vomit – and Walt lets it happen. It’s a dark moment, one that’s hard to watch. But it’s a further slide toward Walt’s ruthless Heisenberg alter-ego.
Walt of course does this to save Jesse, which kinda makes his actions understandable. A perfect example of the moral puzzles Breaking Bad throws us in.
8. Mike Helps Jesse
Season 2, ABQ
Right after Jane’s death, Jesse struggles to take care of himself. His home is littered with drugs, and officers will soon be on the scene to investigate and collect Jane’s body. It’s another sticky situation for Jesse, but more importantly, it leads to the introduction of Mike Ehrmantraut.
The show’s ultimate fixer comes into play as a ‘handyman’ sent by Saul Goodman to clean the apartment, calm Jesse, and tell Jesse what to say to the officers to avoid suspicion. It’s an iconic character introduction, and a great early teaser for Mike’s role on the show.
9. The Pizza Toss
Season 3, Caballo sin Nombre
Okay, so it’s not the most important scene on the show, but strangely enough, it’s become one of the most iconic.
Walt is trying to keep his family together, but when Skyler isn’t having it, he gets frustrated and, with a hilarious lack of grace and dignity, hurls his peace-offering pizza onto his own roof.
It’s a funny scene, and somehow Bryan Cranston uses even this tiny moment to add depth to Walt’s character.
10. Hank vs. the Twins
Season 3, One Minute
In this adrenaline-pumping scene, Hank receives a call warning him that he’s about to be killed. Apparently, he has “one minute” (the title of the episode). Hank has just enough time to react to an assassination attempt by Leonel and Marco Salamanca.
Hank mauls Marco with his car, but is subsequently shot by Marco. When Marco then goes for an axe to deliver a gruesome kill shot, Hank is able to load his gun and shoot the would-be assassin. Yet another narrow escape by the DEA agent.
11. Jesse’s Lab Shenanigans
Season 3, I See You
Walt recruits Jesse to be his meth-cooking partner again and in their new modernized lab, Jesse tells Walt that Hank is in hospital. Walt darts out, leaving Jesse alone with a lab he basically views as a playground.
What follows is a montage of meth lab shenanigans. There’s nothing important to the plot here, but Jesse’s antics are hilarious. It’s almost as if the showrunners wanted to give us some comic relief after all the drama with Hank.
12. Walt Hunts the Fly
Season 3, Fly
This isn’t just one particular scene, but an entire episode. Fly is one of the most memorable moments in the series. Walt, going through a mental breakdown, obsesses over catching a fly in the meth lab.
Just about the whole episode is devoted to the hunt, making for a frustrating, yet beautiful and deeply weird bit of television all at once.
The mere spectacle of the episode is enough to make it a top Breaking Bad scene. We’re also treated to some great relationship building between Walt and Jesse, proving just how close they’ve become (even if Walt almost confesses to allowing Jane’s death).
13. Walt Saves the Day
Season 3, Half Measures
At the end of Half Measures, Jesse sets out to murder the two drug dealers responsible for young Tomas’ death. Just as Jesse and the dealers are drawing guns, a car veers onto the scene and takes out both dealers.
Walt gets out of the car, finishes off one of his victims with a gun, and tells Jesse to run. It’s a powerful, unforgettable scene, showcasing Walt’s ability to take drastic action, but also his deep devotion to Jesse.
14. The One Who Knocks
Season 4, Cornered
By the middle of season four, Walt has really gone full Heisenberg and it’s here where we get some of the best Breaking Bad scenes.
Heisenberg is a monster, and Walt downright enjoys it. This is obvious in Cornered when Skyler worries about Walt’s safety, but he insists that he is “the danger,” and he is “the one who knocks.”
This is definitely one of the most iconic moments in Breaking Bad, and one of the most famous quotes that define the show.
15. Gus And The Poison
Season 4, Salud
In Salud, the ultimate Breaking Bad villain, Gus Fring, proves just why he’s so easy to fear. Summoned along with Mike and Jesse to meet a dangerous cartel, Gus offers his counterpart, Don Eladio, a bottle of tequila.
They all take drinks, after which Gus heads to the restroom to force himself to vomit. We next see one man after another dropping dead from the poison Gus planted in the tequila, while Gus – thanks to an antidote and self-purging – survives his own attack.
There’s no showing what a villain’s capable of better than this.
16. The Death Of Gus Fring
Season 4, Face Off
Unfortunately for dear old Gus, he didn’t last too long after his poison stunt. In the unforgettable season four finale, he visits Hector Salamanca, whom he believes is snitching to the DEA. Unbeknownst to Gus, Walt has gotten to Hector first, and fitted the old man’s wheelchair with a bomb.
In what is one of the most intense Breaking Bad scenes, Hector rings the bell he uses to communicate, detonating the bomb and killing Gus – but not before Gus steps out of the room and straightens his tie with half his face missing.
The unkillable baddie finally met his end in a horrifying fashion. It’s a chilling moment no one will ever forget and goes down as one of the best send-offs in TV history.
17. Jesse’s Magnets
Season 5, Live Free or Die
“Yeah, bitch! MAGNETS!!!” Without Jesse Pinkman, it’s impossible to imagine this phrase becoming an iconic quote from one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Yet, here we are.
50+ Most Expensive TV Shows Ever
In the season five debut, Walt and Jesse try to destroy Gus’ laptop and the incriminating info it holds. As the laptop is inside a police station, Walt and Jesse use massive magnets to corrupt it from outside.
The pair test the magnets, and when they actually work, Jesse lets out an excited outburst typical of his character.
18. The Train Heist
Season 5, Dead Freight
It’s hard to forget the thrilling heist where Walt, Jesse, and Todd drain methylamine from a freight train. It’s all brilliantly done and makes for one of the best Breaking Bad episodes of all time.
Then again, it also takes a gut-wrenching turn when Todd caps off the heist by murdering a small boy who happened to witness them.
This disturbing scene within the scene went too far for some viewers, though it proved that Todd and his crew were evil in a way Heisenberg never quite was.
19. Say His Name
Season 5, Say My Name
If there’s one line that beats out “I am the one who knocks” as the most iconic quote from the series, it’s “Say my name.” These are the words Walt speaks to Declan, a competitive dealer, to show his control.
Walt makes the request in the midst of negotiations, forcing Declan to confront the reality that he’s dealing with Heisenberg – by this point, a feared figure in the meth world. It’s one of the brilliant scenes that shows just how powerful Walt has become.
20. The Death Of 10 Prisoners
Season 5, Gliding Over All
Walt ups his Heisenberg status even further in Gliding Over All when he seeks to eliminate the remaining contacts and lawyer of the recently deceased Mike. He ropes Todd’s neo-Nazi Uncle Jack into service and with contacts of his own across prisons, Jack arranges the murder of all 10 men in question.
This is the moment when Heisenberg becomes a de facto mob boss (albeit without much of a mob) and when we actually realize there’s no turning back, and that Heisenberg is heading for a violent end.
21. Hank’s Finds Out
Season 5, Gliding Over All
At the end of the same episode, Walt’s family appears, ever so briefly, to be in a happy place. Hank goes to the bathroom and things go sideways. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for since the very first episode – Hank finally discovers his brother-in-law’s secret.
As he’s browsing through Walt’s copy of Leaves Of Grass by Walt Whitman, an inscription from Gale is addressed to “W.W.,” causing Hank to recall the time when Walt had jokingly confessed to being the “W.W.” listed in Gale’s notes.
Connecting the dots, Hank realizes the truth behind the confession. It’s another heart-pounding, no-turning-back moment, and one that really kicks off the final chapters of Breaking Bad.
22. Hank vs. Walt
Season 5, Blood Money
After realizing that Walt is Heisenberg, Hank confronts his brother-in-law and Walt offers up a confusing blend of confessions, denials, and appeals. He tells Hank to drop the issue, since he’s dying anyway, and the family shouldn’t suffer.
When Hank counters with the idea that he and Marie should watch Skyler and the kids, Walt turns threatening, telling Hank to “tread lightly.” At this point, the lines are drawn between Heisenberg and his own family.
23. The End Of Hank
Season 5, Ozymandias
With just a few episodes to go, Hank arrests Walt and Jesse, only to be ambushed by Uncle Jack and his band of violent skinheads. We’re at the edge of our seats as a conflict ensues, and Hank is wounded.
Walt begs for Hank’s life in exchange for money, but Hank calmly tells his brother-in-law that Jack’s already made up his mind. Sure enough, Jack shoots Hank.
It’s a heartbreaking and shocking scene, not just because it’s the end for Hank, but also because we realize that Walt, the family man, is still there, beneath the Heisenberg mask.
24. Walt’s Confession To Skyler
Season 5, Felina
In his final moments with Skyler, Walt begins what feels like is going to be another “I did this for the family” rant. Skyler cuts him off, exhausted from hearing this, only for Walt to interrupt with a confession.
*Cue the goose pimples*
“I did it for me,” he finally admits. “I liked it. I was good at it…I was alive.”
It’s a crazy moment where Walt accepts what we have come to see: even if he started this path for family, he ultimately embraced the alter-ego of Heisenberg. Although she’s hurt by it all, Walt’s honesty also gives Skyler some degree of closure.
25. Jesse’s Getaway
Season 5, Felina
At the end of it all, when Walt has brought down Uncle Jack and the neo-Nazis – and mortally wounded himself in the process – Jesse is finally set free. He parts ways with Walt, both realizing that it’s for the last time.
And though the show actually ends with Walt accepting his fate as sirens approach, it’s Jesse’s conflicted, emotional reaction to his escape that makes this one of the best Breaking Bad scenes.
Free of captivity, Walt, and the entire life he’s known to this point, yet also aimless and alone, Jesse sobs, laughs, and screams all at once. It’s like he’s reckoning with everything we’ve seen in a single moment, and it makes for a perfect ending.
Looking back at all the best Breaking Bad moments, it’s clear that few if any modern shows have delivered such compelling drama.
Breaking Bad will make you laugh, cry, rejoice, despair, and at times question your own moral compass. It’s a show that burrows into your mind cleverly, and entertains on a constant basis.
It might just be time to dive back in. YEAH, BITCH! BINGE WATCH!!!
40+ Best ‘Game of Thrones’ Scenes Ever